Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

by Bono

Narrated by Bono

Unabridged — 20 hours, 25 minutes

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

by Bono

Narrated by Bono

Unabridged — 20 hours, 25 minutes

Audiobook (Digital)

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Rock legend, activist, icon. Here, Bono invites readers in for the whole story. From his childhood in Dublin to the origin, rise and success of U2, his ongoing philanthropy, and his activism throughout the world. In the audiobook, his distinctive voice is interwoven with a very personal soundtrack adding atmosphere and texture to each and every scene.

***WINNER OF THE 2024 AUDIE AWARD FOR AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR***

Bono-artist, activist, and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2-has written a memoir: honest and irreverent, intimate and profound,
Surrender is the story of the remarkable life he's lived, the challenges he's faced, and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him.

Narrated by the author, Surrender is an intimate, immersive listening experience, telling stories from Bono's early days in Dublin, to joining a band and playing sold out stadiums around the world with U2, plus his more than 20 years of activism. 
 
Throughout a remarkable life, music has always been a constant for Bono and in the audiobook, his distinctive voice is interwoven with a very personal soundtrack adding atmosphere and texture to each and every scene. From moments of classic U2 hits to snippets by The Clash, Patti Smith, Verdi, Johnny Cash and Mozart, Surrender also exclusively features clips of newly recorded reimagined versions of U2 songs including `Sunday Bloody Sunday', `With Or Without You', `One', `Beautiful Day' and more, glimpsed for the first time on Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.

Editorial Reviews

DECEMBER 2022 - AudioFile

U2 frontman and activist Bono sings like an Irish tenor but performs his memoir with a resonant baritone that sounds clear and effortless. With his working-class Irish accent almost undetectable, he gives his narration an intensity that sounds appealing and genuinely connected to the drama, irreverence, and profundity of his story. Published and unpublished clips of U2 songs interrupt or flow behind his narration, along with musical excerpts from others' music and occasional sound effects that dart back and forth between one’s earbuds. For many listeners, the familiar U2 songs, original music, and Bono’s heartfelt reflections on his life and the human condition will soften his reputation as an acerbic, overly serious celebrity. Exceptional sound engineering can be heard through earphones or earpieces. T.W. © AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine

Publishers Weekly

★ 10/24/2022

Bono, lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the rock band U2, reflects on his creative and personal evolution in this powerful and candid debut memoir. Born Paul David Hewson and raised in 1970s Dublin by a Catholic father and a Protestant mother, Bono always viewed music as his “prayers.” With remarkable frankness, he details what makes a great song (“The greatest songwriting is never conclusive, but the search for conclusion”); domestic life with his wife, Ali, and their four children; how the band almost fell apart during the 1990 recording of Achtung Baby (“We ran out of love for being in the band”); why he always wears glasses (migraines that were eventually diagnosed as glaucoma); and his experience of the conflict between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland that lasted from 1968 to 1998. Along the way, Bono also shares plenty of memories of famous friends—Prince, he notes, is a “genius” who made him realize the importance of U2 owning their master tapes. Self-aware (Bono admits that sometimes he feels like he’s “a sham of a rock star”) and poignantly reflective (“I’m discovering surrender doesn’t always have to follow defeat”), this is a must-read. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown. (Nov.)

From the Publisher

A VOGUE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR


“Honest and direct . . . [Surrender] is defined largely by humility. This is an introspective story written by a man whose spirit is never far removed from the sadness and grief of his childhood; the hunger, literal and figurative, of a teen wannabe rocker; and the gratitude of one who worked his butt off and made it to the top . . . This is the rare rock star memoir written by a rock star who, you get the impression, could have been a writer . . . Bono has a gift for making even the unattainable seem relatable . . . He’s humble, even self-effacing. He might be fun to have a beer with. He is very much of this Earth, even if on occasion he might seem to float above the water.” —The L.A. Times

“Compelling . . . Surrender is more introspective than salacious or score-settling, and proof that the tunesmith who wrote it also speaks fluent prose.” —The Washington Post

Surrender soars whenever the spotlight comes on. Bono is never more powerful, on the page or the stage, than when he strives for the transcendence that only music can offer . . . [Bono] is open and honest, with language that can be witty and distinctive, addressing his competitive relationship with his father or growing up against the backdrop of Ireland’s political violence.” —The New York Times

“Lovely and thoughtfully written . . . An earthy, self-deprecating, often funny appraisal of the sometimes contradictory paths Bono has traveled.”Vulture

“This is Bono at his best: thoughtful, reflective, revealing a wisdom that his rock-star persona covers up . . . At the root of it all you don't doubt his decency or integrity.”The Times (UK)

“A rattling good yarn . . . characteristically expansive, but it whizzes by  . . . Bono has storytelling verve and a genuine desire for self-examination and is enthusiastic about praising others, often at his own expense . . . [A] generous, energetic book.” The Guardian (UK)

“Bono's memoir bares his soul . . . Has any rock superstar written a more revealing biography? He deftly balances the comical and profound and packs anecdotes with cameos by the rich and famous, from Frank Sinatra to Pope John Paul II.” Daily Telegraph (UK)

“Beautifully evoked, a mixture of Joycean exuberance and Chandleresque irony . . . most revealing are the intimate personal experiences that shaped him and his chaotic creative process. Punctuating it all is the music. Each chapter uses a U2 song to pull us down memory lane.” The Sunday Times (UK)

“Bono's honesty will win over his harshest critics . . . the U2 frontman's memoir is a triumph . . . Honest, witty, informative and beautifully written. Surrender will surely join the ranks of the great rock memoirs.” ―Irish Independent (UK)

“Sometimes confessional, many times humorous, and always clever and entertaining, Bono has delivered a fascinating autobiography of a major force in popular music and world affairs for all readers.”Library Journal [starred review]

“Bono's first book will generate enormous interest . . . That the singer-songwriter writes well for the page should not come as a surprise, but his drawings might. Fans of Bono and U2 will adore this rich and expansive memoir, while music lovers of all persuasions will find much to enjoy here, too.” —Booklist [starred review]

“A powerful and candid debut memoir . . . With remarkable frankness, he details what makes a great song; domestic life with his wife, Ali, and their four children; how the band almost fell apart during the 1990 recording of Achtung Baby; why he always wears glasses; and his experience of the conflict between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland . . . Self-aware and poignantly reflective, this is a must-read.” Publishers Weekly [starred review]

Library Journal

★ 11/01/2022

Bono (born Paul Hewson in 1960), lead vocalist and lyricist of the band U2 and philanthropist, tells his story in a lively, conversational style. He begins with his childhood in suburban Dublin and includes details about the sudden death of his revered mother and the formation of U2 with three local teenagers. The singer charts the band's musical development from its punk-inspired debut Boy (1980), to its million-selling statement about America, Joshua Tree (1987), to the electronica of Zooropa (1993), and their more recent efforts. In the last section, Bono deals with his increasing involvement in such social issues as forgiving debt for the lowest-income countries and his staunch fight against AIDS, poverty, and racism. Throughout, he touches on his faith, family, and encounters with such notable musicians as Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Cash; politicians Mikhail Gorbachev, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush; and businessmen Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates. VERDICT Sometimes confessional, many times humorous, and always clever and entertaining, Bono has delivered a fascinating autobiography of a major force in popular music and world affairs for all readers.—Dr. Dave Szatmary

DECEMBER 2022 - AudioFile

U2 frontman and activist Bono sings like an Irish tenor but performs his memoir with a resonant baritone that sounds clear and effortless. With his working-class Irish accent almost undetectable, he gives his narration an intensity that sounds appealing and genuinely connected to the drama, irreverence, and profundity of his story. Published and unpublished clips of U2 songs interrupt or flow behind his narration, along with musical excerpts from others' music and occasional sound effects that dart back and forth between one’s earbuds. For many listeners, the familiar U2 songs, original music, and Bono’s heartfelt reflections on his life and the human condition will soften his reputation as an acerbic, overly serious celebrity. Exceptional sound engineering can be heard through earphones or earpieces. T.W. © AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

2022-08-01
The U2 frontman considers his life through the lenses of faith, family, activism, and, occasionally, music.

It’s not that Bono avoids discussing his world-famous band. He writes wittily about meeting future band mates (and wife) in school in Dublin and how he first encountered guitarist The Edge watching him play music from Yes’ album Close to the Edge. “Progressive rock remains one of the few things that divide us,” he writes. Bono is candid about the band’s missteps, both musical (the 1997 album, Pop) and ethical (force-feeding its 2014 album, Songs of Innocence, to every Apple iTunes customer). At nearly every turn, the author spends less time on band details than he does wrestling with the ethical implications of his successes and failures. Dedicating each of the book’s 40 chapters to a U2 song gives him a useful framing device for such ruminations: “Bad” deals with the loss of a friend to heroin, “Iris (Hold Me Close)” with the death of his mother when he was 14, “One” about the band’s own struggles. Considering Bono’s onstage penchant for sanctimony, his tone is usually more self-deprecating, especially when discussing his efforts to address AIDS in Africa and find the “top-line melodies” that would persuade politicians to release funding. He concedes being imperfect at the job; after a weak negotiation with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he recalls being berated by George Soros, who tells him he “sold out for a plate of lentils.” There’s little in the way of band gossip, and the author has a lyricist’s knack for leaving matters open to interpretation, which at times feels more evasive and frustrating than revealing. But he also evades the standard-issue rock-star confessional mode, and his story reveals a lifelong effort of stumbling toward integrity, “to overcome myself, to get beyond who I have been, to renew myself. I’m not sure I can make it.”

Chatty and self-regarding but pleasantly free of outright narcissism. A no-brainer for U2’s legions of fans.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940175679787
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 11/01/2022
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,145

Read an Excerpt

1

Lights of Home

I shouldn’t be here ’cause I should be dead
I can see the lights in front of me
I believe my best days are ahead
I can see the lights in front of me.

I was born with an eccentric heart. In one of the chambers of my heart, where most people have three doors, I have two. Two swinging doors, which at Christmas 2016 were coming off their hinges. The aorta is your main artery, your lifeline, carrying the blood oxygenated by your lungs, and becoming your life. But we have discovered that my aorta has been stressed over time and developed a blister. A blister that’s about to burst, which would put me in the next life faster than I can make an emergency call. Faster than I can say goodbye to this life.

So, here I am. Mount Sinai Hospital. New York City.

Looking down on myself from above with the arc lights reflecting on the stainless steel. I’m thinking the light is harder than the steel counter I’m lying on. My body feels separate from me. It is soft flesh and hard bone.

It’s not a dream or vision, but it feels as if I’m being sawn in half by a magician. This eccentric heart has been frozen.

Some remodeling needs to take place apart from all this hot blood swirling around and making a mess, which blood tends to do when it’s not keeping you alive.

Blood and air.

Blood and guts.

Blood and brains are what’s required right now, if I’m to continue to sing my life and live it.

My blood.

The brains and the hands of the magician who is standing over me and can turn a really bad day into a really good one with the right strategy and execution.

Nerves of steel and blades of steel.

Now this man is climbing up and onto my chest, wielding his blade with the combined forces of science and butchery. The forces required to break and enter someone’s heart. The magic that is medicine.

I know it’s not going to feel like a good day when I wake up after these eight hours of surgery, but I also know that waking up is better than the alternative.

Even if I can’t breathe and feel as if I am suffocating. Even if I’m desperately drawing for air and can’t find any.

Even if I can’t breathe and feel as if I am suffocating. Even if I’m desperately drawing for air and can’t find any.

Even if I’m hallucinating, ’cause I’m seeing visions now and it’s all getting a little William Blake.

I’m so cold. I need to be beside you, I need your warmth, I need your loveliness. I’m dressed for winter. I have big boots on in bed, but I’m freezing to death.

I am dreaming.

I am in a scene from some movie where the life is draining out of the actor in the lead role. In the last moments of his life he is vexed and questioning his great love.

“Why are you going? Don’t leave me!”

“I’m right here,” his lover reminds him. “I haven’t moved.”

“What? It’s not you leaving? Am I the one walking away? Why am I walking away? I don’t want to leave you. Please, don’t let me leave.”

There are some dirty little secrets about success that I’m just waking up to. And from.

Success as an outworking of dysfunction, an excuse for obsessive compulsive tendencies.

Success as a reward for really, really hard work, which may be obscuring some kind of neurosis.

Success should come with a health warning—for the workaholic and for those around them.

Success may be propelled by some unfair advantage or circumstance. If not privilege, then a gift, a talent, or some other form of inherited wealth.

But hard work also hides behind some of these doors.

I always thought mine was a gift for finding top-line melody not just in music but in politics, in commerce, and in the world of ideas in general.

Where others would hear harmony or counterpoint, I was better at finding the top line in the room, the hook, the clear thought. Probably because I had to sing it or sell it.

But now I see that my advantage was something more prosaic, more base. Mine was a genetic advantage, the gift of . . . air.

That’s right.

Air.

“Your man has a lot of firepower in that war chest of his.”

That’s the man who sawed through my breastbone speaking to my wife and next of kin, Ali, after the operation.

“We needed extra-strong wire to sew him up. He’s probably at about 130 percent of normal lung capacity for his age.”

He doesn’t use the word “freak,” but Ali tells me she has started thinking of me as the Man from Atlantis, from that 1970s sci-fi series about an amphibian detective.

David Adams, the man I will owe my life to, the surgeon-magician, speaks with a southern twang, and in my heightened Blakean state I begin to confuse him with the crazed villain of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I overhear him asking Ali about tenors, who are not known to run around a stage hitting high notes.

“Aren’t tenors supposed to stand with two legs apart, firmly rooted in the ground, before even considering a top C?”

“Yes,” I say, without opening my mouth and before the drugs wear off. “A tenor has to turn his head into a sound box and his body into a bellows to make those glasses smash.”

I, on the other hand, have been racing around arenas and sprinting through stadiums for thirty years singing “Pride (In the Name of Love),” the high A or B depending on the year.

In the 1980s the stylish English songster Robert Palmer stopped Adam Clayton to plead with him. “Will you ever get your singer to sing a few steps lower. He’ll make it easier on himself, and all of us who have to listen.”

Air is stamina.

Air is the confidence to take on big challenges or big opponents.

Air is not the will to conquer whatever Everest you will encounter in your life, but it is the ability to endure the climb.

Air is what you need on any north face.

Air is what gives a small kid on a playground the belief that he won’t be bullied, or if he is, that the bully will have the air knocked out of him.

And here I am now without it, for the first time.

In a hospital emergency room, without air.

Without breath.

The names we give God.

All breath.

Jehovaaaah.

Allaaaah.

Yeshuaaaah.

Without air . . . without an air . . . without an aria.

I am terrified because for the first time ever, I reach for my faith and I can’t find it.

Without air.

Without a prayer.

I am a tenor singing underwater. I can feel my lungs filling up. I am drowning.

I am hallucinating. I am seeing a vision of my father in a hospital bed and me sleeping beside him, on a mattress on the floor. Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, the summer of 2001. He is deep breathing, but it’s getting shallower and shallower like the grave in his chest. He shouts my name, confusing me with my brother or the other way around.

“Paul. Norman. Paul.”

“Da.”

I jump up and call a nurse.

“Are you okay, Bob?” she whispers in his ear.

We are in a world of percussive, animated whispers, a world of sibilance, his tenor now become short tiny breaths, an s after every exhalation.

“Yesssss sssss sss.”

His Parkinson’s disease has stolen the sonority.

“I want to go home sssssss I want to get out of here sssss.”

“Say it again, Da.”

Like the nurse, I am leaning over him, my ear close to his mouth.

Silence.

Followed by another silence.

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